You have to wonder if there are maybe two George Bushes, two Al
Gores, and maybe even a parallel universe that we weren’t aware of.
When you look around, ordinary, thoughtful people are hearing the same
descriptions, viewing the same events and coming away with diametrically
opposite conclusions.

A case in point would be Jesse Jackson. Although I’d be hard-pressed
to describe Jackson as either “ordinary” or “thoughtful,” many of
the people he claims to represent certainly are.

Somehow, Jesse Jackson, presumably viewing the same Election 2000
comedy we are, has found it good to describe the actions of the Bush
camp as being “Nazi” tactics. Nazi tactics? Admittedly, I have an
anti-Gore bias, although that is not exactly the same as being pro-Bush.
But the Bush camp using Nazi tactics?

Now, I’ve tried to find something to quibble with George Bush about
— if only in the interests of fairness. But, for the life of me, I
can’t find anything he’s done wrong.

Al Gore has had his surrogates out in force, hinting darkly about the
possible “illegitimacy” of a Bush presidency, openly saying he’s afraid
to “count the votes,” calling his legal reactions to Gore
actions “stalling tactics” and so on.

And this is where the “parallel universe” comes into play. I’ve
watched the “debate” programs — “O’Reilly,” “Crossfire,” even “Hannity
and Colmes,” trying to figure out what the Gore people are talking
about.

I’ve seen where Bush has mounted legal challenges to prevent the Gore
people from changing the rules after the game was played, but I fail to
see that as Nazi tactics — indeed, it appears to me to be eminently
fair, given it’s the way elections are conducted in this country.

I’ve seen where Bush has fought the Gore effort to count votes by
hand that machines couldn’t count. Again, given the fact that the
standards being used to determine votes are nonexistent, and the areas
selected for the recounts being overwhelmingly pro-Gore, it seems
eminently fair to me.

Of course, I base my view on the question, “what would I do if it
were me?” and I don’t think I’d quit while I was ahead, and I know I’d
object if somebody tried to stack the deck against me. I’ve seen the
Bush legal team react — but I don’t recall an instance where
Bush or his lawyers initiated the action.

Oh sure, they sued to keep Al Gore from disqualifying the military
vote — but it was Al Gore who was crying that “every vote should
count.”

They sued to prevent the absentee ballots from being disqualified in
Seminole, Martin and Bay counties, but trying to preserve legal votes
cast by thoughtful American citizens who took the time to request them
is not the same as trying to squeak in incorrectly cast votes like those
cast by voters in Palm Beach who suddenly “remembered” they voted for
Pat Buchanan when they really meant to vote for Al Gore.

And suing to protect the integrity of voters whose intentions were
clearly expressed is not the same thing as attempting to “divine” the
will of voters who failed to follow instructions regarding pushing
through the “chads” (I’m growing to hate that word) and ensuring they
detached completely from the ballot.

I’ve been trying to see what all these people are talking about when
they claim George Bush “stole” the election. He had the most votes the
day after the election. Call me old-fashioned, but I can’t see the
problem.

I’m trying to understand the people who demand Bush concede. I’m
having more than a little trouble with that one. I don’t recall
Al Gore ever being ahead — even for a second — from Election Day until
now.

I can’t even get a handle on the argument that Gore should win — he
won the popular vote. Didn’t anybody mention the Electoral College
system? It isn’t like it was invented to benefit George Bush; it’s been
around for a couple of hundred years.

I tried to get indignant about the Republican “mob” that “stormed”
the canvassing board in Miami-Dade. But I can’t find any way to ignore
the fact they were responding to efforts to move the ballot counting
process to a place where the public couldn’t monitor it.

What would the other side have done?

Nobody knows — but we did see what Jesse Jackson (Al Gore’s
new best friend) did the day after the election. Nobody called that
a “mob,” instead, that was democracy in action.

So far, this is what I’ve seen, and I’ve honestly tried to be
objective about this. I’ve seen Al Gore lose in Florida, even in places
where he was able to stack the deck, like Palm Beach and Broward County.

I’ve seen him threaten to hold his breath until the country turns
blue if he didn’t get a “do-over.”

I’ve seen him try to use the courts to accomplish what the voters
failed to accomplish for him. I’ve seen Gore try to get votes thrown out
that didn’t favor him. I still haven’t been able to reconcile that
with the line “every vote should count.” Maybe he meant, “every vote
for me should count.”

By contrast, the most I’ve seen Bush do is try to prevent votes that
didn’t favor anybody from getting counted for Al Gore.

I’ve witnessed Jesse Jackson urge nationwide protests because the
Supreme Court might not rule the way he wanted them to. “You cannot
afford to lose your franchise. It is extraordinary the Supreme Court
would even consider discounting people’s votes,” he said.

But he didn’t find it extraordinary that Al Gore would try and
discount 25,000 absentee votes, plus the votes of our military service
people, on a technicality that in no way clouded what was the ‘will of
the people’ who cast them.

I didn’t hear Jesse Jackson demand an accounting of the convicted
felons who illegally voted in the Florida election. Of course, the
felons voted, according to experts, three to one for Al Gore.
Apparently veterans’ votes don’t count, but felons’ votes do.

I’m really trying to understand this parallel universe in which up is
down, right is wrong, a universe in which the winner should concede and
the loser isn’t trying to steal the election. I’m trying to
understand how George Bush is using Nazi tactics.

Now, I’m not going to accuse Al Gore and his people of using Nazi
tactics. That would just be ridiculous. The evidence suggests something
else. A world leader once remarked, “It’s not the voters that count,
but who it is that counts the votes.” That was Josef Stalin.

Still, I’m not making accusations; I’ll leave that to Jesse Jackson.
But in the parallel universe where I live, what you do reveals more
about you than what you say.

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